Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recipe Thursday: Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit

... the more you eat, the more you grow! Or so the saying goes at least. Beans have been at the forefront of my diet lately now that gluten and cheese are out of the picture. I know you're probably thinking that most people use beans as a protein substitute for meat, but honestly I'm not too concerned with my protein intake, so that's not exactly what's going on here. In fact, most Americans get too much protein and usually, unless a person is wildly malnourished and deficient in every vitamin and mineral across the board, you don't hear too often of people being protein deficient. One cool thing that I've learned in my recent studies is that when you get your protein from plant sources it's much easier for your body to assimilate and convert into energy, so you don't need quite as much, gram for gram, as a person who turns to animal sources for protein. Another added bonus is that your body can get back to the program cleaning house and fending off diseases instead of using all of its resources trying to break down the hamburger you ate for lunch. The reason I've been filling up on beans is actually because now that I've taken most of the heavy foods out of my diet (ahem, pizza) I find that I've been getting hungry a lot more frequently, simply because things like smoothies and salads are quick to digest and aren't particularly calorie-dense. For the first couple days I didn't notice a huge difference, probably because my digestive system welcomed the rest for a change. Then I hit a point last week where about mid-morning, after my smoothie had burned off, and then mid-afternoon, after my salad was gone, I was absolutely ravenous. So I started making a second smoothie for myself to take to work with me, as well as some dried fruit and nut munchies (stay tuned next week for the details!). I also started adding various beans to my salads to make them a little more filling and nutrient-dense, and it's really helping my hunger issues. Although it's definitely a goal of mine to trim up a little more- I'm finally back to where I was just before the wedding, yay!- I'm not trying to get there by starving myself. Plus, I definitely don't want to be known as the sickly freak who doesn't eat meat, cheese or gluten, and give vegetarianism a bad rap. I'd rather people think, "wow, she seems really healthy and has the energy of an 8-year old," so if you happen to see me soon, let me know what kind of vibe I'm giving off. For the record, I actually am noticing a change in my energy levels, which is pretty exciting. Particularly after lunch, I find that I'm no longer having that hour-long slump where I just want to curl up in a ball and sleep under my desk, George Costanza style.

In addition to my bean salads, I've also really been exploring the whole beans and rice territory. It's not something I've ever made with frequency until we went to Iowa and my dad- who, might I add, is an excellent chef- made the most delicious beans and rice I've ever had. Inspired and also relatively poor, I thought I'd give it a whirl in my own kitchen. I've made a few variations, and thought I'd share one from the past weekend.

Black Beans and Rice with Squash
Here's what you need:

Black beans, diced tomatoes with chiles, a rice of your choosing,
squash, and pickled jalapenos if you're feeling crazy.
The Food Network picture:

All chopped up and ready to go. I like to drain and rinse my beans before cooking them. Can
you spy my green smoothie? I just can't help but eat whilst preparing food, it's a curse.
Prepare the rice as directed, and when there gets to be about 15 minutes left, start sautéing the squash over medium heat. Once it gets a little soft add everything else and let it simmer, stirring occasionally.

So colorful! A little stovetop fiesta.
When the rice is done mix it all together, and bam! You have a delicious meal to watch a bad movie with. Or at least that's what I did.

No comments:

Post a Comment